American Heritage

"Democracy: American Promise and its Dangers"

Overview

The success of the American Revolution could not be secured solely by military victory over British forces. Success also required that the policies and institutions of the new governments be formulated in accordance with the principles of the Revolution. At the end of the war, George Washington explained this formidable task in his Circular to the States: "According to the system of Policy the States shall adopt at this moment, they will stand or fall, and by their confirmation or lapse, it is yet to be decided, whether the Revolution must ultimately be considered as a blessing or a curse: a blessing or a curse, not to the present age alone, for with our fate will the destiny of unborn Millions be involved."

Lecture

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Recommended Readings

Q & A Session

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Paul A. Rahe is the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Professor in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College. He received a B.A. from Yale University, a B.A. from the University of Oxford, and his Ph.D. from Yale University.